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Davis Journal

Neither Republicans or Democrats are truly healthy

Mar 18, 2021 11:06AM ● By Anna Pro

 One of the most challenging jobs in 2021 is being the leader of one of the two major political parties.  An angry electorate, conspiracy-minded social media sites, and “throw the bums out” energy combined with a corresponding apathy has made the national political arena confusing and unruly.

The Republican brand needs mending. A recent survey found only 25% of Americans identify as Republicans and less than 20% of women do.  In the past eight presidential election campaigns the GOP has won the popular vote only once (1988).  It is increasingly the party of aging, white males.  Even worse, a large segment of the Republican base is fervently religious, a declining force as the country continually becomes more secular.

At last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference, many Republican speakers, including Trump-stalwart Sen. Josh Hawley, proclaimed the party was now “the working-class” party, trading the country club for Sam’s Club.  The problem here is that working-class jobs are the ones most threatened by technology, while educated white-collar and grey-collar workers are expanding – and they are trending Democrats.

But that doesn’t mean the Democratic leaders have it easy.  A prosperous post-pandemic economy under President Biden would normally be positive for Democrats. However, an Echelon Insights survey of Republican voters finds that pocketbook issues are not their main concern. The top issues for 2020 Republican voters were cultural; illegal immigration, lack of support for the police, and so-called liberal bias in the mainstream media.

Democrats do a horrible job of distancing themselves from the “cancel culture.” Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi had nothing to do with the cancellation of several Dr. Seuss books, but because they didn’t say, “Oh, come on guys, start worrying about things that matter!” Democrats are getting the blame. Neither have the Democrats strongly denounced the radical few who want to “defund the police.”

On immigration, Democrats have been lax in framing the DACA debate as a fairness issue for young men and women who have been raised in the U.S. most of their lives and for a stable, non-prejudiced method for immigrants to work in the U.S. without waiting in line for 10-15 years.  Few Democrats want an “open border,” but their reluctance to speak out strongly and deport/punish convicted felons make the party look soft.  American businesses cannot prosper without immigrants; Democrats should focus on that instead of centering on compassion.

The voters don’t care about tearing down Confederate statues or making Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head gender-neutral. They care about building efficient highways, repairing bridges, and ensuring that neighborhoods are safe. Democrats should shoulder these concepts and let private business (automakers, for instance) deal with climate change.  

Just because Republicans are wounded doesn’t mean Democrats are healthy.  Both parties are blind when it comes to effective messaging for a changing nation.